After Red River Army Depot announced it would lay off about 300 more employees this year, leaders of two organizations representing depot workers have reached out to the governor.
International machinists union President Robert Martinez Jr. and National Federation of Federal Employees President Randy L. Erwin sent a joint letter to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott about the effects of laying off 306 International Association of Machinists members at the depot near Hooks, Texas. The announcement came less than three months after nearly 600 RRAD workers were let go.
"RRAD is the main economic driver for the Texarkana area with a direct impact on communities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas," Martinez and Erwin said in the letter. "A recent economic impact study completed by the University of Arkansas found that the May 2018 layoffs alone, totaling 585 RRAD jobs, would slash the region's economic output by $255 million and result in the loss of more than 400 indirect and induced jobs in the surrounding community."
The letter states that losing more jobs is unacceptable given the expected outcome of earlier layoffs. They also noted that the depot would lose significant technical experience and knowledge.
According to DeLane Adams, communications representative for IAMAW, the letter was received in Gov. Abbot's office Aug. 8.
"We are still awaiting a response from the governors office," said Adams. "We hope he will use his influence as Texas governor to intervene on on behalf of the RRAD workers and the
Representatives from RRAD and Governor Asa Hutchison of Arkansas's office were not able to respond by presstime.
"Our IAM members have the skills and expertise to support the Army's mission at RRAD," said IAM Southern Territory General Vice President Mark A. Blondin. " We ask Governor Abbott to join the fight to keep this vital work and jobs at RRAD."
IAM members at the Texarkana, Texas-area depot maintain and repair military vehicles, including the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle. RRAD also provides all four military branches with vehicle Mine-Resistant Ambush Protection and hosts the only rubber products division of its kind, which allows for work on any type of wheeled tactical vehicle.
IAM and NFFE request the governor's immediate assistance to avoid the layoffs.
The two organizations represent about 2,200 employees at RRAD. IAM Local 1243 represents federal contract employees, and NFFE-IAM Local 2189 represents federal term employees.